It is very fun and mostly easy to play ukulele chords. Let’s take a look at some easy chord changes!
Before we delve to deeply into our ukulele chords let’s take a look at the tuning of your ukulele. The resulting names of the chords we play depends on how we tune the ukulele.
In this ukulele lesson I assume that you play a soprano ukulele and that you have tuned it in C.
What does C-tuning mean?
Let’s take a look at the piano keyboard to find out how to tune the ukulele.
C-tuning means that the third string on you ukulele is tuned to a C. If you use a piano when you tune your ukulele you will find these notes in the octave in the middle of the keyboard.
The notes in this most commonly used octave on the piano are called C4-B4. The number 4 indicate that the notes are on the fourth octave on an ordinary piano.
The first string on your ukulele will be tuned to an A4 as we call it. The next string will sound like the piano key E4. The third string will be the note C4. The fourth string will be the note G4.
Our first chord is C major. Let’s take a look at it:
C: 0/4 0/3 0/2 3/1
What type of notation is this?
This is a type of ukulele tab notation where we use numbers to indicate which fret to press down and on which string.
3/1 for example means: Press down fret 3 on string 1.
We will now proceed with the chord G major:
G: 0/4 2/3 3/2 2/1
As you can see this chord is the same chord as a D major on a guitar. A little bit confusing if you also play guitar but I guess you will get used to it.
The chord F major looks like this on your ukulele:
F: 2/4 0/3 1/2 0/1
Now we have three chords at our disposal and we can create our first ukulele chord progression:
C / / / G / / / F / / / G / / /
What does the slashes mean?
The most basic way to interpret this notation is:
Strum once on a chord name. Continue strumming on the same chord once for every slash!
Let’s add one more chord to make this progression a little bit more interesting. Here is G7:
G7: 0/4 2/3 1/2 2/1
Here is the progression:
C / / / G7 / / / F / / / G7 / / /
Before we end this ukulele lesson we will add just one more chord. Here is D minor:
Dm: 2/4 2/3 1/2 0/1
Here is the ukulele chord progression:
C / / / G7 / / / Dm / / / G7 / / /
To really learn to play chords on your ukulele it is important to play them together. The most difficult part is to change from one chord to another smoothly without slowing down the tempo.
Try practising playing two chords at a time. The actual training consists of changing between the chords.
This is a great way to rapidly learn to play the chords of any ukulele song!